Bringing Business To Life The Coalfields Funds

Case Studies

Two Wests & Elliott Limited

  • Location: Chesterfield, Derbyshire
  • Sector: Mail order gardening supplies
  • Funding requirement: Management buy-out
  • Investment Director: Wayne Thomas

logo_twowestsTwo Wests & Elliott manufactures and supplies greenhouses and related gardening products, tools and equipment, propagation supplies, cold frames and cloches, by mail order.

The company was formed some 30 years ago by Christopher and Josephine West, who sold the business to a larger national organisation in 2000. The company’s website, launched in 2001, offers more than 2,000 products and it publishes three customer catalogues each year.

Managers, Peter Bennett and Lucie Bradley, were given the opportunity to take shared ownership of the company through a management buy-out and approached the investment team at Enterprise Ventures following advice from their corporate finance advisor. Following the usual due diligence process, the Funds agreed to provide investment as part of a funding package alongside the company’s bank and contributions from the management team.


CoreRFID Limited

  • Location: Warrington, Cheshire
  • Sector: Radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions
  • Funding requirement: Management buy-out
  • Investment Director: Paul Taberner

logo_corerfidCoreRFID Limited provides radio frequency identification (RFID) and barcode technologies across a range of industry sectors. Its systems are used within a wide range of applications and deliver cost effective solutions to many logistics and asset tracking situations. Its customer base includes Nokia, BAA, the BBC, Thames Water, the Channel Tunnel and Norwich Union.

The investment provided by the Coalfields Funds formed part of a funding package alongside the company’s bank and its management team to assist the management buyout of the business from the previous family owners.

As a result of the investment, the company relocated its operations into an eligible coalfield ward, creating additional employment in the region, as well as allowing the company to offer its new and existing customers a wider range of RFID products and services.


Transglobal Payment Solutions Limited

  • Location: St Helens, Merseyside
  • Sector: E-payment solutions
  • Funding requirement: Development & working capital
  • Investment Director: Wayne Thomas


The company provides automated payment transaction services to SMEs and high net worth individuals for domestic and foreign currency.

Following a referral from the company’s corporate finance advisor, and further investigation of the business plan, the investment team at Enterprise Ventures identified that the marketplace for both domestic and international payment transfers was to go through significant commercial changes. The team believed the company was well placed to take full advantage of the opportunities the changes would bring and, following negotiations, the Funds provided investment, as part of a larger funding package, alongside the bank and the company’s management team. A commitment for further tranched monies was also made at this time, to be invested against a number of development milestones.

The Funds’ investment was used to provide development and working capital to the business and to enable it to relocate its sales base from London to premises in St Helens, Merseyside, which resulted in ten new jobs being created in the region.



  • Location: Ashby de La Zouch, Derbyshire
  • Sector: Health & Safety Consultancy
  • Funding requirement: Management buy-out
  • Investment Director: Paul Taberner

HSECHealth Safety and Engineering Consultants (HSEC), the Ashby-de-la-Zouch engineering risk management consultancy, has undergone a £2.7m management buy-out backed by EV. Debt facilities were provided by The Co-operative Bank and included funding to support the company’s future growth.

Enterprise Ventures has secured a substantial minority stake in the business, which provides health and safety and risk management advice to clients across the UK. Under its RHMA brand it provides forensic investigation and expert witness services dealing with personal injury, commercial liability and health and safety regulatory work to an increasing number of law and insurance firms. Established in 1991, with its roots in the engineering service of British Coal, HSEC employs 22 staff.

The MBO was led by the Director of Consultancy Services, Dom Barraclough, who becomes Managing Director. He has been joined by newly appointed Financial Director, Peter Brown, and new non-executive directors John Crabtree, previously senior partner with Wragge & Co, and Patrick Kelly, formerly a senior partner with PA Consulting. The founder of HSEC, Bob Mitchell, will remain with the business, retaining a financial interest and continuing to provide expert witness services.

Dom Barraclough commented: “We are delighted to have attracted EV as an equity investor to support us in taking the business forward. We have achieved an enormous amount in developing our people, services and client base over recent years and look forward to growing and strengthening the business further alongside EV. ”

Paul Taberner, Investment Director for Enterprise Ventures, said: “HSEC is a great business with some tremendous consultants providing the highest quality services to exceptional clients. This is a traditional MBO, building on 20 years of history and achievement. This deal demonstrates that despite the current funding environment, good management teams can still find support.”

Debt facilities were provided by Mark Turner of The Co-operative Bank’s Derby Corporate Banking Centre. Turner commented: “We are delighted to be involved with this long standing East Midlands based business with a strong sector reputation. Further success beckons for the very capable management team & experienced staff.”

Financial advice to Dom Barraclough was provided by Ryan Wilkinson of HWCA while Bob Mitchell was advised by John Bryant of Cooper Parry.


Barber of Sheffield

  • Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Funding requirement: Development and working capital
  • Investment Director: Wayne Thomas

Barber of SheffieldBarber of Sheffield, a medical supplies business which is now one of the UK’s largest suppliers of tattoo equipment and consumables, has secured a multi-million investment to expand its operations.

Enterprise Ventures has invested a sum from the Coalfields Funds in the business, alongside PHD Equity Partners. The deal will allow the owners, husband and wife team Tony and Stephanie Crane to realise part of their investment in the business and will also provide funding for growth.

Based in Chapeltown, Sheffield, Barber was set up by Tony Crane in 1991 to sell stainless steel needles, blades and other medical consumables to the veterinary industry. The company continues to supply veterinary wholesalers and also provides autopsy products for hospitals, mortuaries and emergency services.

However it is body art products that now accounts for the bulk of its turnover. Barber supplies tattoo studios in the UK and beyond with equipment for piercings and tattoos. It has developed its own brands including Black Widow needles and gloves, Chameleon piercing aftercare products, and a range of sterile inks and needles which it sells alongside other manufacturers’ brands. Barber mainly sells via its catalogue though it is developing its online presence and also its export trade, with sales growing rapidly in Europe and the USA.

According to one survey, a fifth of all British adults have a permanent tattoo, but this rises to 29 per cent amongst men and women aged 16 to 44. These figures are in line with research in the US in 2008 which showed that 36% of Americans aged 18-25, 40% of those aged 26-40 and 10% of those aged 41-64 have a tattoo.

Tony Crane said: “This is a great opportunity for the business to move onto the next level. The company has grown rapidly over the last few years and we felt this was an opportune moment to seek partners to allow us to make the most of its growth potential, particularly in overseas markets. Working with equity investors also allows us to tap into their knowledge and contact base, giving us the skillset required to grow at the pace we would like.”

Wayne Thomas, who led the deal for Enterprise Ventures, said: “Barber has increased its turnover every year for the past ten years and still has plenty of opportunities for further growth. The company has the potential to become one of Europe’s leading specialist distributors of needles, blades and medical consumables. This investment will provide the funding required to allow the management team to pursue this goal.”


To find out more about how the Coalfields Funds call the team at Enterprise Ventures today on 0845 094 8886 or email

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“Enterprise Ventures are flexible and approachable.”

Independent Research Nov ’13

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